Genesee Community College Foundation Impact is $4 million, Trustees Hear

Through its grants and student housing program, the Genesee Community College Foundation currently is helping to leverage $4.08 million in College fiscal support this year, Foundation Executive Director Richard Ensman reported to the Board of Trustees Monday evening.

Foundation scholarship programs bring academically talented students to the College and help students facing financial hardship enter and remain in College. Although scholarships are intended primarily as a charitable activity, scholarships have helped Genesee stabilize and increase enrollment over the last decade, Mr. Ensman said. As students enroll at Genesee as a result of scholarships, the College receives additional tuition and public aid, strengthening the College’s budget.

The same is true for College Village, the student residence owned and operated by the Foundation, according to Mr. Ensman. College Village is located at the northeast end of the Batavia Campus, just a three-minute walk to the Batavia Campus buildings. Most of the approximately 300 students who live at College Village are from outside of driving distance to Genesee, and most would not be able to find living quarters in the Batavia area. The student housing program makes Genesee Community College possible for a growing number of out-of-area students, and the College receives tuition and public aid as these students enroll at Genesee.

In practical terms, the Foundation made $286,002 in grants last year, including $254,483 in scholarship support to students. A Foundation analysis showed that 2005-2006 scholarship assistance helped leverage $2,041,880 in other College revenue. This means that every dollar donated to the Foundation during the Foundation’s annual giving campaign and spent on scholarships yielded a return of $8.02, according to John C. Dwyer, President of the Foundation.

“From an economic standpoint alone, a donation to the College Foundation is a tremendous investment,” Mr. Dwyer said. “While any scholarship donation makes a real difference in a student’s life, it’s good for us to remember that these donations make a powerful difference in the College’s budget, too.”

A similar analysis showed that College Village’s 308 residents generated an average of $6,619 each in College-related revenue, for a total $2,038,640. “The fact that we can offer a high-quality student housing program speaks volumes about Genesee Community College,” Mr. Dwyer said. “One of the upshots of student housing is that we are able to attract talented students from across the state and across the world. They bring great richness to our College. They also help bring strength to the College’s budget and great fiscal impact to our area economy.”

College Village students spend significant amounts of money at local business firms. “These students all come from out of the area, and buy food, clothing, and leisure time services from local retailers,” Mr. Dwyer said.

The Genesee Community College Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to boosting volunteer and philanthropic support for Genesee Community College. Besides scholarships and student housing, the Foundation was instrumental in raising funds for the construction of the Conable Technology Building and the Humphrey Student Union. The Foundation also funds the President’s Innovative Awards program, a mini-grant program that enables faculty, staff, and students to begin creative new initiatives and involve the community in College activities. The Foundation is currently attempting to mobilize Genesee’s 17,000+ alumni in the life of the College.

Mr. Dwyer, a Batavia resident, is president of the Foundation. Charles Cook, of Byron, serves as first vice president. Dr. Stuart Steiner, president of Genesee, serves as the Foundation’s second vice president. Toni Ann Moore, of Leicester, is secretary, while Lynn E. Browne, of Batavia, is treasurer.

The Foundation was formed in 1986. Since 2000, the Foundation has raised $4.63 million in annual, capital, and endowment grants. Since that time the Foundation has made scholarship grants supporting more than 1,500 students and helped support the construction of the Conable Technology Building and the Humphrey Student Union. Four hundred sixty-eight volunteers have been involved in Foundation activities during that time period. The Foundation began College Village in 2001, and last month began construction on three new buildings that will increase capacity from the current 300 to 380. Over the last three years, the Foundation has installed a wireless computer network at College Village, an Internet-based telephone system that allows students to make calls anywhere in the United States and the Caribbean at no charge, and free cable television service, College Village Director John Sisson told trustees. The housing units under construction will all contain suites with single bedrooms, a growing preference among today’s college students.

In other business this evening, the Board of Trustees:

• Approved the transfer of 33.9 acres of Batavia Campus land to the Genesee County Economic Development Center for use in the GCEDC’s planned Upstate Med and Tech Park. The land is located on the south side of R. Stephen Hawley Drive. The transfer is subject to approval of the Genesee County Legislature and the State University of New York Board of Trustees. GCEDC CEO Steven G. Hyde said that planning for the new business park is proceeding rapidly and funding is now available for some basic infrastructure and land improvements – important to any company considering relocation to the new park. “You’ve got to be shovel ready before you land any company,” Mr. Hyde told trustees.

• Heard Vice President for Finance and Administration Dr. Kathleen Sinel report that an ad-hoc trustees committee will hold interviews for independent College auditors early in April. Four accounting firms responded to a College request-for-proposal for auditing services. Members of the committee include Kenneth Dodd, Charles Ruffino, and Marcia Noonan.

• Heard President Stuart Steiner report that 5,203 students are enrolled at Genesee for the spring semester. Dr. Virginia Taylor, Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services reported that applications for full-time study in the upcoming fall semester total 1917, up 6.7% from the 1,796 applications received one year ago. Applications for admission to the nursing program alone have increased from 70 to 162 to date.

• Viewed “A Tribute to Genesee Community College,” a five-minute video presentation produced by Batavia resident and video producer Paul Figlow for the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards dinner last month. The video depicted Genesee’s 40 years of service to the region through historical photographs and music. Genesee Community College received the Chamber’s Service Award in recognition of the College’s 40th anniversary.